By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– It has been a cool minute since Stayton baseball has been in talks and in the hunt for a Oregon West Conference-Title.
But here the Eagles were, facing a Sisters team up there with them and Philomath looking for some ground with another coming down to the final week of regular season play Saturday afternoon.
The Outlaws struck first with a Garrett Vohns sacrifice fly in the top half of the first inning, scoring Brody Duey. Handing Sisters a 1-0 lead going to the bottom half of the inning.
It’ll be the only time the Outlaws scored in Stayton’s 13-1 Eagles win, capped by a monstrous three-run home run by Brock Hubert to enforce the mercy-rule in the sixth inning.
“It was pretty awesome; I think we all did pretty great today. It was a pretty solid game all around really,” said Hurbert. “We all showed up, came to play and got it done.”
Stayton answered with three runs in the first to take the lead. Wyatt Connally and Nicholas Frith each had sac-fly RBI in the inning with Connor Hollenbeck scoring the first Eagle run of the game on a wild pitch.
Hollenbeck, along with Cody Leming, held Sisters to four-hits in the game defensively. Defense made plays when the ball was in play and Hollenbeck and Leming combined for nine strikeouts as their offense backed them up while on the mound.
“We knew Sisters was going to be swinging the bat, so me and Connor did our best to let the ball into play and trust our team behind us. We know we have a great defense behind us to work with,” Leming, who struck out five in three innings, said. “And that’s where if we can get out of the innings, we can come in and get run support.”
For the most part Stayton scored in chunks. Three in the first, two in the third. Their five-run fifth-inning proved to be the decided factor, putting the team in a 10-1 lead going to the sixth. With their defense playing sound baseball, it set up Hubert’s home run as Cody Choate and Daniel Odenthal got on base in the two at-bats prior to Hubert’s.
“It was great. We all hit great, fielded great. It was a great game,” Hubert said.
Hubert, Hollenbeck and Connally all had two hits each in the game. Frith drove in 2RBI’s in the win.
And now. The big week ahead. They control their own destiny. With two league losses, Philomath is behind them with three. Win out and Stayton has the League Championship.
With Woodburn up first before they get a rematch with the Outlaws, they can’t look too far ahead with the Bulldogs looking to play spoiler Monday and Wednesday.
It’s nerve racking for sure knowing the situation they are in. At the same time though, they are using it equally as motivation to keep going and keep pushing forward.
“It’s very nerve-racking to be out here and knowing that we can lose spots, but I think that’s what provides us with the energy and motivation to come out here and do what we do. Get the bats rolling and play great defense like we did,” said Leming. “Knowing that the other team isn’t going to roll over is huge. Knowing that we have to come out everyday and play the kind of baseball we play is huge.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald